Pacific Northwest Ballet will be bidding an adieux passionnés to principal dancers Jerome Tisserand and Laura Tisserand at the end of the company’s 2020-2021 season: The couple have announced that they will be leaving Seattle this summer, to accept positions with Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo. Laura Tisserand (formerly Gilbreath) trained at PNB School before joining the company as an apprentice in 2003; she was promoted to corps de ballet in 2004, soloist in 2010, and principal in 2014. Jerome Tisserand joined PNB as a member of the corps de ballet in 2007 and was promoted to soloist in 2012 and principal in 2014.
“I’ve always considered myself immensely blessed to be able to live out my childhood dream of becoming a ballerina, and my career at PNB has exceeded my expectations time and time again,” said Ms. Tisserand. “How lucky am I that I have the chance to start a new chapter and push my limits as a dancer with Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo. PNB has been my home for the past 18 years and it’s where I hold some of my most cherished memories on and off stage, so to say I will miss it would be an understatement, but I’m thrilled that my story as a dancer will continue to unfold on stages around the world.”
“I’ve spent my entire professional career dancing in the United States and it’s been a wonderful journey thus far,” said Mr. Tisserand. “But when the opportunity to dance in Europe presented itself I knew it was something I wanted to pursue. This move comes at the perfect time for our family and we’re thrilled that our daughters will have the chance to fully immerse themselves in their French heritage while watching their parents grow as artists. PNB will always be a part of our story and we hold it near and dear to our hearts as we embark on this exciting adventure.”
Both Tisserands are scheduled to be performing in PNB’s Rep 6 (June 10 – 14) featuring premieres of works by Edwaard Liang and Christopher Wheeldon. Their careers at PNB will be honored during this year’s Season Encore performance on Friday, June 18. (PNB season subscribers and donors will receive free access to the Season Encore. Individual tickets available through the PNB Box Office, 206.441.2424 or PNB.org. Further details on programming for PNB’s annual end-of-season celebration will be announced soon.) Laura Tisserand can also currently be seen in Kyle Davis’s Las Estrellas, created as a gift to the community during the current GiveBig campaign. Visit PNB.org/GiveBig.
“I’m so pleased for Laura and Jerome as they embark on an exciting new chapter with their family in Europe,” said PNB Artistic Director Peter Boal. “As excited as I am for all four Tisserands, I know we will all miss them dearly.”
“My memories of Laura date back to her days as a student at the School of American Ballet in New York where she was a standout not only for her endless lines and natural majesty, but also for her crystalline technique and generous spirit. Kent Stowell and Francia Russell [PNB founding artistic directors] placed her immediately in leading roles and I was pleased to follow suit, discovering Laura’s range and willingness to grow as an artist. Many roles seemed made for Laura like Titania in Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Siren in Prodigal Son, and leading roles in William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated and Ulysses Dove’s Red Angels. I always thought Laura was too talented to be type-cast; at 5’10” certain roles would have seemed out of the question in another company and another time.
But Laura proved to be a mold-breaker. She is undoubtedly the tallest dancer to perform Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, and Aurora in Ronald Hynd’s The Sleeping Beauty. I will not forget her shimmies and smirks with partner Jonathan Porretta in Twyla Tharp’s Waiting at the Station. Kent’s Swan Lake offered Laura a signature role – two in fact: We recall her languid fragility as Odette and her alluring dominance as Odile opposite Batkhurel Bold and later Karel Cruz. Her artistry will continue to thrive and grow as a new member of Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo.”
“I can vividly remember Jerome’s audition class at SAB. One could identify a future star even at 16. His jumps soared, his batterie boggled the mind and everything about his dancing felt fresh, alive and exuberant. As we recall roles Jerome danced, the list becomes long and the selection of favorites, too challenging, but I will still name a few: Petite Mort opposite Lesley Rausch, Cendrillon opposite Elizabeth Murphy, Little mortal jump with Elle Macy, Afternoon of a Faun with Kylie Kitchens, and Giselle with Kaori Nakamura in a new partnership forged one week before her retirement. I haven’t even mention Romeo, Basilio, Siegfried, Franz, Cavalier…you start to see the problem. Jerome is a winning presence both on- and off-stage. He is also French, and he has a perfect opportunity to return to France with his move to Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo. We remain grateful for the millions of treasured memories both Laura and Jerome have given us. It’s time to share their gifts with the rest of the world. Bon voyage.”
Jerome Tisserand is from Lyon, France. He trained at the Paris Opera Ballet School, with Pascale Courdioux in Lyon, and at the School of American Ballet. He joined Miami City Ballet as an apprentice in 2006, before joining Pacific Northwest Ballet in 2007.
Mr. Tisserand has danced leading roles in George Balanchine’s Agon, Coppélia, Diamonds, Emeralds, The Four Temperaments, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Rubies, Serenade, La Source, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Symphony in C, and Theme and Variations; Peter Boal’s Giselle; Alejandro Cerrudo’s Little mortal jump and One Thousand Pieces; David Dawson’s Empire Noir and A Million Kisses to my Skin; Ulysses Dove’s Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven, Red Angels, and Serious Pleasures; Nacho Duato’s Rassemblement; William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, New Suite, and One Flat Thing, reproduced; Kiyon Ross’s Sum Stravinsky; Paul Gibson’s Mozart Pieces, The Piano Dance, and Rush; Ronald Hynd’s The Sleeping Beauty; Jiri Kylian’s Forgotten Land, Petite Mort, and Sechs Tänze (Six Dances); Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Cendrillon and Roméo et Juliette; Benjamin Millepied’s Appassionata; Mark Morris’ Pacific; Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Cylindrical Shadows; Justin Peck’s Year of the Rabbit; Yuri Possokhov’s RAkU; Alexei Ratmansky’s Concerto DSCH, Don Quixote, and Pictures at an Exhibition; Jerome Robbins’ Afternoon of a Faun, The Concert, Fancy Free, Glass Pieces, In the Night, Other Dances, and West Side Story Suite; Kent Stowell’s Carmina Burana, Cinderella, Nutcracker, and Swan Lake; Susan Stroman’s TAKE FIVE…More or Less; Twyla Tharp’s Afternoon Ball, Brief Fling, Nine Sinatra Songs, Opus 111, and Waiting at the Station; and Christopher Wheeldon’s Carousel (A Dance), Polyphonia, and Variations Sérieuses. He originated leading roles in Jessica Lang’s Her Door to the Sky, Millepied’s 3 Movements, Morris’ Kammermusik No. 3, Margaret Mullin’s Lost in Light, Peck’s Debonair, Price Suddarth’s Signature, and Wheeldon’s Tide Harmonic. Mr. Tisserand won second prize at the 2003 Dance Festival of Artists in Nyon, Switzerland, and first prize in the 2004 Prix Carpeaux in Valenciennes, France.
Laura Tisserand is from Hammond, Louisiana. She trained with Phoebe Brantley in Baton Rouge, Joseph Giacobbe and Richard Rholdon in New Orleans, and on scholarship at the School of American Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet School, before joining PNB as an apprentice in 2003.
Ms. Tisserand has performed leading roles in George Balanchine’s Agon, Apollo, Concerto Barocco, Coppélia, Diamonds, Emeralds, The Four Temperaments, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Prodigal Son, Rubies, Serenade, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Symphony in C, and Theme and Variations; Peter Boal’s Giselle; Trisha Brown’s Spanish Dance; David Dawson’s A Million Kisses to my Skin; Ulysses Dove’s Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven and Red Angels; William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, One Flat Thing, reproduced, and Slingerland Duet; Kiyon Gaines’ Sum Stravinsky; Paul Gibson’s The Piano Dance; Ronald Hynd’s The Sleeping Beauty; Jiri Kylian’s Petite Mort; Jessica Lang’s Her Door to the Sky; Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Roméo et Juliette; Mark Morris’ Pacific; Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Cylindrical Shadows; Justin Peck’s In the Countenance of Kings and Year of the Rabbit; Crystal Pite’s Emergence; Alexei Ratmansky’s Don Quixote; Brian Reeder’s Lost Language of the Flight Attendant; Jerome Robbins’ The Concert, Dances at a Gathering, Glass Pieces, In the Night, and West Side Story Suite; Kent Stowell’s Carmina Burana, Cinderella, Nutcracker, Silver Lining, and Swan Lake; Susan Stroman’s TAKE FIVE…More or Less; Twyla Tharp’s Afternoon Ball and Nine Sinatra Songs; and Christopher Wheeldon’s Variations Sérieuses. She originated leading roles in Kyle Davis’ A Dark and Lonely Space, Benjamin Millepied’s 3 Movements, Morris’ Kammermusik No. 3, Margaret Mullin’s Lost in Light, Price Suddarth’s Signature, Tharp’s Waiting at the Station, Ezra Thomson’s The Perpetual State, and Wheeldon’s Tide Harmonic. Ms. Tisserand has performed as a guest artist with Lafayette Ballet Theatre.
Featured photo: Laura Tisserand and Jerome Tisserand in William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated. Photo © Lindsay Thomas.
Photos: Laura Tisserand in George Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Photo © Lindsay Thomas. Laura Tisserand in Kent Stowell’s Swan Lake. Photo © Angela Sterling. Jerome Tisserand in Peter Boal’s Giselle. Photo © Angela Sterling. Jerome Tisserand in Jerome Robbins’ West Side Story Suite. Photo © Angela Sterling.